Category Archives: Restaurants

Outside The Bubble

This week has not been the best of weeks. And by that I mean I’ve kind of been an emotional wreck.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe because I’m now seven weeks from first hearing the C-Word and the news is really starting to sink in. Maybe it’s because my hair started falling out. Or maybe exhaustion is just getting the best of me.

I’ve kind of been a loose canon, anything can set me off crying. I’ve had to stop reading the obituaries in the paper every day. I walked passed a funeral home the other day and teared up at the sight of a full parking lot. I also broke down after trying, and miserably failing, at contacting Microsoft about a program I own. That one involved big messy sobs with lots of snot and tears. Stupid Microsoft.

There’s also chemo brain. Such a thing really does exist. Chemotherapy affects your cognitive function and ohboy am I ever losing it. Small chunks of my day sometimes go missing and I have absolutely no recollection of them, even after people fill me in. I mix up my words when speaking. I can’t follow long explanations. I have a really hard time deciding on things to do.

So when an opportunity to take a day trip to Saint John arose, I jumped on it. It sounded like just the small adventure I needed to boost my spirits and have some fun without the sickness getting in the way of it all.

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(Driving photo recreated from last week) My sister and I were able to see our grandparents who I haven’t seen in over a year! And I got to see some old friends!

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Tina and I met up at Relish, a specialty burger joint found throughout the Maritimes. She’s recovering from reconstructive surgery on her ankle so we had fun exchanging hospital war stories about everything from changing IV sites to coming out of anaesthesia. She always makes me laugh!

I finally got that Relish Burger I’ve been craving like a madwoman since being in the hospital. But it was hard to pick from their menu!

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The Greek Tycoon – crumbled feta cheese, marinated bell peppers and onions, kalamata olives, tzatziki sauce. So far this is my favourite Relish burger. The creamy tzatziki-feta mixture paired with the beef patty and signature soft poppyseed bun was perfection!

Saint John, New Brunswick is this stinky port city most well known for its oil refinery. The weather is always colder and without fail the fog rolls in at 6pm making it impossible to see. With all that said, it was quite pleasant wandering around the downtown and spotting some of the city’s finer points.

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We later hit up Britt’s Pub & Eatery for some of the best pub food I’ve had in a while. You can tell the people at Britt’s take pride in what they serve.

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I was still full from the burger, so just had half a club on a homemade grilled flatbread with thick chicken breast, thick sliced cheese, crispy bacon, and sweet mayo.

Also at the table was a tasty spinach salad with blueberries, apples, pecans, and fried goat cheese.

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And a spicy pulled pork quesadilla!

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All finished off with a few bites of homemade apple pie.

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Made in house by one of the owner’s mothers. Flaky crust, tart apples, yeah, it was good.

Now I am completely exhausted from my day trip, but the small escape was totally worth it. Sometimes as a cancer patient, I can feel like I’m living in a bubble. The kind of sterile bubble where things revolve around fast growing cells and their treatment. The kind of bubble where I can’t hug people, where my outings are to the hospital, and my dayplanner is filled with drug schedules. Even though I had to brush my teeth in restaurant washrooms, and give myself shots in the back of a (clean) parked car, it was still nice to take a step outside the bubble and be with those who see me as more than just a “sick person.”

And this time, with no tears.

Luck of the Irish

I can’t decide if I want to post on weekends. I went back and forth several times and ended up deciding that I don’t want to decide. Maybe I will? Maybe I won’t? It’ll be a surprise each weekend! It’s my blog, I can do what I want ;)

Anyways, the real reason why I decided to post this weekend is because I have something to post about!

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It turns out Moncton is not as desolate when it comes to brunch as originally thought. When I saw The Old Triangle pub had a brunch menu I sent it to my mom right away. She’s my new brunching buddy. Who also happens to be a rather large fan of pubs. Convenient.

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The Old Triangle is of the Irish variety. One look at the brunch menu and I knew exactly what I was destined for.

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The traditional Irish breakfast! Obviously.

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I’ve seen something similar in many places. There’s also Angharad’s proper English breakfast. Basically, if I could assemble the perfect breakfast for myself, it would contain very similar components.

Well, except for the blood pudding. I’ve been frightened of blood pudding ever since I was a small child.

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You see, my mom spent part of her childhood in Ireland where blood pudding was a regular weekend breakfast treat. She loves it and would talk about it all the time growing up. It’s essentially blood cooked with some sort of filler (meat, oatmeal, potato, etc) and put into a sausage casing.

Well, I decided Saturday was the day I would conquer my childhood fear.

It was actually kind of delicious! I would compare it to a milder, more crumbly sausage.

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However, my favourite part of the meal was the Irish soda bread. LOVE that dense, soda-y loaf. Also on the plate was breakfast sausage, eggs, bacon, “boxty bread” which tasted like a pancake, fried tomatoes and “white pudding” which is like blood pudding but without the blood.

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Total domination. This is how a good Saturday or Sunday looks right here. Eat a small breakfast, go for a run, eat a gigantic afternoon brunch, then a couple snacks to tie me over for the rest of the day. Absolute perfection. Absolute Irish, bloody, soda-y perfection. Now where’s my black & tan?

Red Satay Grill – Vietnamese in the Hub City

I have to say, it is one of my new goals to show on this blog that New Brunswick does indeed have good food.

I mean sure, there’s no arepa cafe or bison straight from the farm. But we’re not completely void of taste and culture. And we are more than just blueberries and donair sauce.

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Case and point: Red Satay Grill. Or, “Satay Grill Rouge” for the Francophone folk. Moncton is an English-French bilingual city after all!

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This is one of the many new places that popped up in my absence. Especially along St. George Rd. An area previously barren of anything interesting, more sketchy than anything else. It’s slowly becoming home to decent bars, cafes, and restaurants.

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I came here for lunch on Saturday with my mom, sister and aunt. We were lucky to snag a seat in the near-full dining area. The lunch menu consists of mostly stir-fries and soups.

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You see that? Pho! Pho (pronounced “f-uh” not “f-oh”) was on my list of things to try before leaving Ontario. Who knew I could get it right here at home!?

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Not to mention, they’ve got a whole menu of vegan selections. I’m impressed. So very impressed.

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We decided to start with the vegetable spring rolls from the vegan menu. Served piping hot straight from the deep-fryer with a bowl of a watery sweet dipping sauce. The filling was like that of any ole’ cabbage egg roll. Which to me, is a good thing.

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Sara and I both ordered the Red Satay Vegetable Noodle “Pho” Soup with Tofu.

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Look at all those veggies! Pho is usually just broth, green onion, rice noodles and meat (traditionally beef). The addition of broccoli, mushrooms and onions were very welcome.

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It’s also served with bean sprouts on the side that you add yourself, along with a squirt of lime juice. The soup is served very hot to cook any slivers of meat you may have in there. It also softens the sprouts.

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The waitress suggested we get the Red Satay sauce on the side so we could adjust the temperature ourselves. I added maybe two teaspoons of it and it was just enough. Any more and it would have been too spicy for me.

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Overall, I really liked my Moncton pho. You can never go wrong with a big bowl o’ soup larger than your head. Plus, as far as eating out goes, pho is a relatively healthy restaurant choice.

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But how did it shape up to the famous pho of Ottawa’s Chinatown? I will say the broth was not as flavourful. The Ottawa pho had very light and flavourful notes to it like citrus and mint. The Moncton pho was a little more bland and watery. With that said, I really loved the red satay sauce. It was the kind of sweet and flavourful spicy that adds to a dish rather than have you chug a litre of water to get it down.

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My mom and aunt both ordered curry on vermicelli noodles and both gave reviews of approval. My mom said it was a little too mild for her tastes with too many noodles. I had a bite and would certainly agree!

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The best part was the Werther’s Original that came at the end. Nothing Vietnamese about it, but a fun way to finish the meal nonetheless!

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So yes my friends, there is indeed culinary hope for Moncton. I’ve already enlisted the help of my mom to try out all the new places I’ve been missing.

Except we’ve decided to eat out every other week for the sake of our expanding waistlines. I don’t think I can still get away with the “Toronto Ten” seeing as I’m no longer in Toronto ;)

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